As electrification becomes more mainstream, your average Joe is more likely to find himself behind the wheel of a battery-powered car. As more companies plan to launch affordable EVs, though, some people still prefer a quick fill-up at the pump and the freedom of range that gasoline provides to waiting for a charge or the restrictions of a still-limited charging infrastructure. Hybrids remain a viable option for reducing fuel use while still reaping the benefits of a traditionally powered car. Then there are range extended EVs, but those tend to cost a pretty penny.
While the Nissan Leaf is the reasonable EV of choice for a lot of carbon-conscious drivers, the automaker just might be offering another battery-powered offering in Japan, in the form of a hybrid Note.
Sold here in the US as the Nissan Versa Note, the efficient little hatchback has seen a bit more popularity overseas. As soon as November, the Nikkei Asian Review reports, the Note could get a battery powered "hybrid" counterpart, with an on-board gas tank charging the battery. Rather than the parallel hybrid powertrains we're currently used to, this Note's "wheels will only get power from the battery." The gas engine will only serve, then, to charge the battery.
This series hybrid powertrain would improve efficiency by 40 percent, putting the Note at the top of its class. As far as affordability, the car will come in at 2 million yen, which is little under $20,000, to keep it competitive with its traditionally powered peers.
The report offers scarce additional details about the car itself, including whether or not it will, in fact, include an option to plug it in (though it's hard to imagine it without). The Nikkei Asian Review does say, "while the car will still need to be taken to the gas station every now and then, drivers will never have to worry about charging the battery." Nissan said late last year that it would launch a range-extended EV that wasn't the Leaf in 2016, though, and it makes sense that this would be it.
We have reached out to Nissan for comment, and will update this story if new details emerge.